Child abuse ring members guilty of ‘extraordinary depravity’ face life sentences

The five men and two women have been warned they face ‘very substantial’ jail terms at the High Court in Glasgow.

Child abuse ring members guilty of ‘extraordinary depravity’ face life sentences STV News

Seven people convicted of being part of a Scottish child abuse ring which committed crimes of “extraordinary depravity” are facing possible life sentences.

The two women and five men were all convicted of gang raping a child, and abusing other children.

Some were convicted of harming two children, and others of abusing three children, in a drugs den in Glasgow where heroin and crack cocaine were used.

Judge Lord Beckett warned of “very substantial” jail terms for “extraordinary depravity”, after revealing he was considering if an order for lifelong restriction should be imposed when the defendants appeared in court last week.

The order monitors high-risk offenders for the rest of their lives if they are deemed suitable for release from prison after serving a minimum punishment period.

Criteria considered include if the abusers would potentially “seriously endanger the lives or physical or psychological wellbeing of the public at large”

On Tuesday, Iain Owens, 45; Elaine Lannery, 39; Lesley Williams, 41; Paul Brannan, 41; Scott Forbes, 50; Barry Watson, 47; and John Clark, 47, face jail after risk assessments were commissioned by Lord Beckett.

Four of the group: Owens, Lannery, Brannan and Williams, were found guilty of attempting to murder a child by pushing her into a microwave and trapping her in other places.

All seven were found guilty of taking part in the gang rape of a child, following an eight-week trial at the High Court in Glasgow.

An eighth person, Marianne Gallagher, 38, who was found guilty of assaulting a child, was given a deferred sentence until January 2025.

The offences, involving three children, happened between 2012 and 2019.

Owens and Lannery were also convicted of multiple counts of assault, sexual assault and causing a child to ingest drugs and alcohol.

Williams was also found guilty of assault and supplying drugs.

Brannan was further convicted of sexual assault, causing children to consume drugs and alcohol and supplying class A drugs.

Watson and Clark were also found guilty of sexual assault.

Three of those on trial: Mark Carr, 49; Richard Gachagan, 46; and Leona Laing, 51, were acquitted of all charges.

An allegation that the accused used a Ouija board to “call on spirits and demons” causing the child victims to “believe that they could see, hear and communicate with spirits and demons” and making them take part in “witchcraft”, was dropped by prosecutors during the trial.

Lord Beckett said previously: “Some of you have been convicted of sexually abusing three children and some of two children.

“The common denominator was the repeated sexual assault of a very young child, payment was sought and accepted, some of the events were filmed. This extraordinary depravity was repeated on a number of occasions.

“All the sex offences are of extreme gravity and accompanied for some of you by attempted murder.”

He added: “It appears to me, in the case of each of you may be such, there is a likelihood that, if at liberty, there is a risk you will seriously endanger the lives or physical or psychological wellbeing of the public at large, particularly young children.

“You are not all in the same position. You should understand that each of you faces a very substantial prison sentence.”

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